Dr Colin Reilly

Associate Fellow
Department of Language and Linguistics
Dr Colin Reilly



Colin joined Essex in 2019 as a Senior Research Officer. He works on the British Academy-Global Challenges Research Fund project "Bringing the outside in: Merging local language and literacy practices to enhance classroom learning and achievement." His research focuses on multilingualism and language policy within Sub Saharan Africa. He is particularly interested in exploring ways in which translanguaging can engage with language policy and planning. The BA-GCRF project he currently works on investigates language practices in classrooms in Botswana, Tanzania, and Zambia. He also has extensive experience conducting research in Malawi. This includes his PhD research which involved linguistic ethnographic work investigating the sociolinguistics of higher education in Malawi. Prior to joining Essex, he was a Research Assistant on a Scottish Funding Council-Global Challenges Research Fund project investigating the relationship between language policy, skills formation, and labour market outcomes in Malawi.


  • PhD - English Language and Linguistics University of Glasgow,

  • MPhil - English Language University of Glasgow,

  • MA (hons) - English Language University of Glasgow,


Other academic

  • Research Assistant, School of Education, University of Glasgow (1/1/2019 - 30/6/2019)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Language Policy



Language and Development

African Languages


Applied Linguistics


Journal articles (8)

Reilly, C., Costley, T., Gibson, H. and Kula, N., (2024). The multilingual university: language ideology, hidden policies and language practices in Malawian universities. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 1-17

Reilly, C., Costley, T., Gibson, H., Kula, N., Bagwasi, M., Dikosha, D., Mmolao, P., Mwansa, J., Mwandia, M., Mapunda, G. and James, E., (2023). Emerging principles for researching multilingually in linguistic ethnography: Reflections from Botswana, Tanzania, the UK, and Zambia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 44 (8), 689-701

Wildsmith-Cromarty, R., Reilly, C. and Kamdem, S., (2023). Investigating the opportunities and challenges for African languages in public spaces: an introduction. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 44 (9), 765-772

Reilly, C., Scandurra, R., ResCue, E., Hermannsson, K. and Gayton, A., (2023). Language and employment in Ghana: capturing the multilingual reality. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. 44 (9), 807-826

Reilly, C., Bagwasi, MM., Costley, T., Gibson, H., Kula, NC., Mapunda, G. and Mwansa, J., (2022). ‘Languages don’t have bones, so you can just break them’: rethinking multilingualism in education policy and practice in Africa. Journal of the British Academy. 10 (s4), 1-20

Reilly, C., ResCue, E. and Chavula, JJ., (2022). Language policy in Ghana and Malawi: differing approaches to multilingualism in education. Journal of the British Academy. 10 (s4), 69-95

Costley, T. and Reilly, C., (2021). Methodological Principles for Researching Multilingually: Reflections on Linguistic Ethnography. TESOL Quarterly. 55 (3), 1035-1047

Reilly, C., (2019). Attitudes towards English as a Medium of Instruction in Malawian Universities. English Academy Review. 36 (1), 32-45

Books (1)

Erling, EJ., Clegg, J., Rubagumya, CM. and Reilly, C., (2021). Multilingual Learning and Language Supportive Pedagogies in Sub-Saharan Africa. 0367463539. 9780367463533

Book chapters (1)

Reilly, C., (2021). Malawian Universities as Translanguaging Spaces. In: English-Medium Instruction and Translanguaging. Editors: Paulsrud, B., Tian, Z. and Toth, J., . Multilingual Matters. 9781788927314

Grants and funding


Disrupting discourse: establishing a decolonial paradigm for language policy, pedagogy, and practice

University of Essex (GCRF)



Colchester Campus